Global News Review | July 7

Global News Review

Ambassador Dick Bowers, LCDR Patrick Ryan and Dr. Breck Walker, Ph.D., discuss the top five items in the week’s global news providing commentary and assessments, background and context; and they take your questions and comments. We’re pleased to welcome Dr. Walker to the weekly Global News Review team as a regular co-host.

This week Professor Mark Katz will join the conversation about key issues in global news especially his analyses of US-Russian affairs. Dr. Katz is a Professor of Government and Politics at George Mason University. (Bio below)

Topics for July 7, 2020
1 –   Thucydides Takes a South China Sea Cruise
2 –   Vladimir the Great — Putin can serve through 2036
3 –   Russia’s murder for hire program in Afghanistan
4 –   Hong Kong: End of One City, Two Systems
5 –    Iran: Why Are There Fires Breaking Out
Ambassador Charles “Dick” Bowers, USFS (Ret) served as the US Ambassador to Bolivia from 1991 through 1994. During that time, the American Embassy in Bolivia’s capital, La Paz, was the largest and most complex U.S. embassy in South America. Ambassador Bowers grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, attended the University of California, Berkeley. He entered the U.S. Foreign Service in 1967. From 1961 to 1964 he served in the U.S. Army as a Russian linguist in West Berlin at the height of the Cold War. As a career member of the U.S. diplomatic corps, Ambassador Bowers served in the U.S. Embassies in Panama, Poland, Singapore, Germany and Bolivia. He retired from the Foreign Service in 1995. Amb Bowers has been a Board Member of the Tennessee World Affairs Council since 2012.

LCDR Patrick Ryan, USN (Ret) is a native of New York City. He enlisted in the Navy at age 17 and volunteered for submarine duty. He served aboard nuclear fast attack and ballistic missile boats during the Cold War, rising to the rank of Chief Petty Officer. In 1982 he was commissioned and served aboard a cruiser in the Western Pacific before becoming a Navy Intelligence Officer. Ryan served aboard the carrier Constellation in the Pacific, the Joint Staff Intelligence Directorate in the Pentagon, the Center for Naval Analysis, and the Intelligence Directorate of U.S. Central Command. Ryan retired from the Navy in 1998 and worked as a consultant on Intelligence Community projects and as the VP/COO of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations. Ryan ran a newsletter publishing business on international affairs from 1999-2016. He founded the Tennessee World Affairs Council in 2007.

Dr. Breck Walker received his PhD in Diplomatic History from Vanderbilt in 2007. His dissertation was on the foreign policy of the Carter administration.  He taught at Sewanee, the University of the South, 2007-2012, and on the University of Virginia’s Semester at Sea Program in Spring 2013 and Fall 2015. He worked as a historian in the Historical Office of the Office of Secretary of Defense 2013-2016, researching and writing a book on early Pentagon cyber policy. Prior to becoming a history professor, Breck worked for twenty years as an investment banker, the last ten as co-head of the Corporate Finance Group at J.C. Bradford & Co in Nashville. He has an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas, and J.D. and M.B.A. degrees from Stanford University.  Breck serves as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Tennessee World Affairs Council.

Guest Co-Host | Professor Mark Katz

Mark N. Katz, Professor of Government and Politics, began teaching at George Mason University in 1988.  He writes on Russian foreign policy, the international relations of the Middle East, transnational revolutionary movements, and other subjects.  During 2017, he was a visiting scholar first at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington (January-March), and then at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs in Helsinki (April-September).  During 2018, he was a Fulbright Scholar at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London (January-March), and then the 2018 Sir William Luce Fellow at Durham University in the UK (April-June).  In February 2019, he was appointed a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council.  Links to his recent articles can be found at

Additional References — Read Ahead and Be Ready to Participate

“Beijing ‘is ready to counter US’ as both navies hold drills in South China Sea,” SCMP, Jul 6, 2020

“Operation Bashi Channel: the next flashpoint in the China-US military rivalry,” SCMP, Jul 5, 2020

“How Putin Views the Iranian Role in Syria: Insights from Bolton’s Memoir,” July 3, 2020, by Mark N. Katz




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